The Friday car elegance show and the Saturday rally were a quieter prelude to the Sunday RACES! The city's organisation must have worked 24/7!; clearing out all the parked cars, "corralling" all the residents into their flats and closing the roads forming the inner city road racing circuit. By the time we arrived at 08h00 on the Sunday morning, everything was set up and running smoothly - the pits, metal fencing and barriers, grandstands, food stalls, toilets, marshals, commentators, ambulances, breakdown crews, the lot! It all seemed to me to be much like a miniature version of the Monaco GP! They have been running this event EVERY year since 1939, interrupted only by WW2, so they should know what they are doing! Famous names like Fangio, Ferrari and Gordini made some of their first appearances here, on this short 1.3 kilometre (0.8 mile) circuit.
Angouleme - a bird's eye view of part of the circuit, showing the steep inclines and curves to be negotiated by the competitors.The cathedral spire is top left.
A Bugatti type 35 (I think!!) getting familiar with the roads during the morning practice runs.
More Bugattis - some drivers removed their headlamps, or never had them!
A Bugatti type 37 from 1929. Could be worth €400,000 and he's racing it around the streets!
Mini Cooper S, ideally suited to this short, narrow, winding circuit.
Alfa Romeo, I'm guessing it's the valuable 2300cc model 8C from the early 1930's, being scooped up after a mechanical malfunction.
An Allard K2 roadster from 1951 - very rare (only 120 made), beautifully prepared and powered by an American V8 engine. Sidney Allard was an English motor engineer who designed and built racing cars in that era.
Here it is again, in the races, catching up with an Alfa Romeo Guilia saloon, a Golf and a Renault 5 Turbo. It has huge power in a straight line, but is not as nimble around the twisty bits as the smaller cars! It was raced with gusto, and the crowd loudly applauded the driver's enthusiasm!
A 1970's Porsche 914-6 chasing a 1950's Jaguar XK120 past the Cathedral public grandstand
Citroen MEP from the early 1970's. M.E.P are the initials of a Citroen franchise holder who designed the car for racing, in response to the French public's enthusiasm for single-seaters. It uses an 1100cc Citroen engine.
The same car driven in anger to win its class. The safety fencing wasn't conducive to taking clear photos!
Breathe in... small 848cc two stroke Panhard Sports and a huge 1954 16 feet long Studebaker Champion lean on either side of a poor little Austin A35 at the back of the field. You can see the Allard again, up ahead in the distance.
1953 Panhard Fairchild Special, pirouetting gracefully on three wheels, before.....
having a confrontation with someone's garden wall!! This was a photo of the big viewing screen opposite our stand, hence the blurring.
1965 Porsche 911 smoking its rear tyres in an effort to escape a Ford RS1600 and another 911. The Ford retired, leaving the white car to a comfortable race win.
A French registered and immaculate Jaguar SS100 seemingly "just parked" for people to admire.
An extremely rare Jowett Jupiter from the 1950's, and all the way from England!
An afternoon of 10 races made up the packed and very entertaining programme, each race being of 20 laps or about 25 minutes. The fastest lap of the day was made at an average speed of 80 kph (50mph), which doesn't sound very fast, but the circuit is very restricted, as you can see, and there is also the matter of lapping slower cars, so I think a bit of bravery is needed to achieve such times. As in the previous events, the organisers had to be thankful for support from UK entrants to achieve respectable numbers. All in all, a great weekend's experience and we counted our blessings with Sunday's very warm sunny September weather!
Thanks again to Nigel for all his research and the write up. I might recognise a few models but not many!
See also my daily Photo Diary Here
My Life Before Charente - New post 24/10/2015